Belt and Road, Shinzo Abe, Starbucks, Maria Butina, Don Quijote, Vacation

MRD July.png

What I am watching today = April 26, 2019

Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia 

News + Analysis at the Intersection of Globalization + Disruption + Politics


✔️ Xi vows new direction for ‘Belt and Road’ after criticism

✔️ Does Starbucks make you smarter?

✔️ Maria Butina is not a Russian spy, but a 'spotter'

✔️ “I haven’t seen anything else quite like Don Quijote”

✔️ The new vacation perk: Celebrity encounters


21 ways to not have the right network:

1. Same backgrounds - think homophily.

2. Lack of mission statement.

3. Thinking small.

4. Too much self-reliance.

5. Same skills. Same talents. Same ideas.

6. Too provincial.

7. Limited perspective.

8. Choosing personality over purpose.

9. Reactive. 

10. Not stubborn enough.

11. Easily swayed.

12. Over-reliance on cash and class as the connection.

13. Spending not investing.

14. No reboot.

15. Too many jerks.

16. More campaign, not cause.

17. Comfortable and content.

18. Thinking the hype is real.

19. Lack of moxie.

20. Don’t do the work.

21. Many ideas, no execution.


Marc A. Ross specializes in thought leader strategy for executives and entrepreneurs working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics. 


China’s Xi vows new direction for ‘Belt and Road’ after criticism: WSJ reports, China’s President Xi Jinping signaled a recalibration of his global infrastructure-building program as he sought to assuage foreign critics who blame Beijing for pushing excessive lending onto developing economies.

Xi pledges open Belt and Road but west is split on programme: FT reports, Beijing chips away at wariness over flagship infrastructure building project.

Nikkei: Xi pledges Belt and Road reboot amid rising 'debt trap' concerns

China's Belt and Road is 'green and clean,' says Xi
: DW reports, Chinese President Xi Jinping says the Belt and Road program must be "open, green and clean." Beijing wants to dispel fears that its infrastructure plans will leave countries saddled with debt and environmental damage.

UK in China: Philip Hammond, the chancellor, attends the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, along with President Putin.

China lobbies ASEAN on yuan use, cracking dollar dominance: Nikkei reports, Beijing proposes Asian currencies, including yen, be added to emergency pool.

AFP: Xi says will abolish anti-competitive subsidies to Chinese firms

China’s Xi signals approval for Trump’s trade war demands
: Bloomberg reports, Xi spent a large portion of his speech Friday addressing Chinese domestic reforms, pledging to address state subsidies, protect intellectual property rights, allow foreign investment in more sectors and avoid competitive devaluation of the yuan. All four are issues the US is addressing in trade talks with Beijing.

China's rocket start-ups develop 'shoebox' satellites: Reuters reports, China's private rocket manufacturers are racing to develop small rockets capable of sending satellites into space at affordable prices, as part of a broader Chinese dream of building commercial satellites that can offer services from high-speed internet for aircraft to tracking coal shipments.

Geoffrey Owen: How to meet the challenge of China: Western governments should think twice before trying to keep Chinese companies out.

"Fifty-two years ago, the French journalist and politician Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber wrote a hugely successful book called Le Défi Américain (The American Challenge). In it, he warned that European industry was about to be overwhelmed by giant American companies such as General Motors and Ford. Unless urgent action was taken to create bigger European companies, Servan-Schreiber argued, Europe would became a technological vassal of the US."

Dan Wang: Why China will rival the US in high tech: Critics who say bureaucracy and rote education stifle innovation are missing the biggest factor in the mainland’s favor: its huge market. 

Anjani Trivedi: Why China can’t pull up the world: Beijing’s stimulus has been targeted and domestically focused. That means it won’t do much to boost growth elsewhere.

LAT: Trump's withdrawal from TPP trade deal is hurting U.S. exports to Japan

The White House is scrambling to undo the damage of Trump’s swift withdrawal from what would have been the world’s largest regional trade agreement.

The remaining 11 members proceeded anyway, slashing tariffs and leaving US businesses at a significant competitive disadvantage. 

Today: Donald Trump hosts Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, at the White House.

Japan’s Abe visits White House in latest bid to soothe Trump’s ego — and avoid his ire: WP reports,the Japanese leader has played a diligent inside game to mixed results but now faces a new test amid President Trump’s threats on trade.

Trump and Abe to meet as Japan and US seek trade deal: NYT reports, Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan will meet today to discuss a bilateral deal that was almost unthinkable two years ago. But the United States may have to agree to some concessions.

The US is pushing to reduce its trade deficit with Japan and gain better access to the Asian nation’s agricultural market. Japan is looking for a concrete promise that it won’t be hit by possible US tariffs on auto imports.

Reuters: Japan tells US can't link monetary policy to trade: finance minister Aso

FT: Japanese government and Nissan reject Renault merger talks

Relations sink to new low after double snub to French carmaker.

Europe’s nationalists band together in bid for influence: WSJ reports, European Parliament elections next month will test the strength of an energized far-right’s views, offering a signpost to Europe’s politics in coming years. Nationalists are reaching across borders to try to build an alliance they hope can reshape the legislature.

France’s Macron vows to cut taxes, stay on pro-business course: WSJ reports, French President Emmanuel Macron promised to cut taxes in a long-awaited address that sidestepped demands for immediate measures to quell months of violent yellow-vest protests.

FT: French employees face challenge to short-hours culture

Macron wants citizens to work longer in bid to increase tax revenues.

Macron responds to yellow vest protests by promising tax cuts, more reforms: DW reports, President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to ease taxes on France's middle class, reform its civil service while also reinstating public order. His long Elysee Palace news conference follows months of yellow vest protests.


Virgin plastics: As the EU waves through the single-use plastics ban, broadly shuns fracking and pushes for decarbonization by 2050, plans for a wholesale contradiction involving INEOS and US ethane are underway in the city of Antwerp.

Roger Dooley: Does Starbucks make you smarter? One thing the coffee giant has been very smart about is preserving the powerful aroma of roasted coffee beans. Research shows that the mere smell of coffee can improve some cognitive functions. University of Toronto researchers recently published results which verified the concept that coffee cues prime the brain with an expectation of increased sharpness. Subjects from cultures where coffee drinking is common experienced higher levels of alertness and attention when primed with coffee cues than those from tea-oriented cultures.

One sign that neuromarketing has transcended its era of hype and hucksterism: Nielsen now has 16 neuro labs globally, including five in the US. One opened late last year in Cincinnati, Ohio, the heart of client country and home to Procter & Gamble, which is among the marketers that now have neuroscientists in-house.

"I think the industry is still a little bit of wild, wild west. It's still got plenty of snake oil in it," says Duane Varan, CEO of MediaScience.


Trump sought out loyalist to curtail special counsel — and drew Mueller’s glare: WP reports, Trump’s efforts to enlist Corey Lewandowski as a back channel were read by some legal observers as one of the clearest cases for potential obstruction of justice laid out in Robert S. Mueller III's report.

Admitted Russian agent Butina to be sentenced in US, faces deportation: Reuters reports, admitted Russian agent Maria Butina will be sentenced on Friday by a federal judge after pleading guilty in December to conspiring with a Russian official to infiltrate a gun rights group and influence U.S. conservative activists and Republicans.

USA Today: Maria Butina is not a Russian spy, but a 'spotter': DOJ revives intrigue over gun rights activist

Rolling Stone: 17 takeaways from Maria Butina’s sentencing memo

The NRA-friendly Russian national reveals a plot to get Vladimir Putin on American cable TV.

FT: Sanders launches attack on Biden over lobbyist fundraiser event

Attendance at private function underlines ex-vice president’s urgent need for cash.

Reuters: Like Trump, Democrat Buttigieg bills himself as a turnaround expert

Bloomberg: Biden banks on Trump to help win White House in 2020

"Biden’s strategy – which his campaign said will include an emphasis on rebuilding the middle class and unifying the country – comes after more than two years of party post-mortems concluded that Hillary Clinton’s almost single-minded emphasis on Trump’s shortcomings contributed to her loss in 2016."

Offshore drilling + 2020: The Trump administration has shelved plans for a vast expansion in offshore oil and gas drilling following a court decision blocking fossil fuel activity in large swaths of the Arctic. Offshore drilling is not seen as such a swell idea in Trump must-win state Florida.

Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox: America’s future depends on the bedroom, not the border: With a historically low unemployment rate, America is running low on workers in everything from high-tech to construction, manufacturing and services as Donald Trump’s stronger immigration policies help raise wages for existing US workers, from the lowest paid to well-paid construction workers, for the first time in decades.


Uber ratcheted down its target valuation to a range of about $80 billion to $90 billion.

FT: Uber to pitch IPO between $44 and $50 a share

Ride-hailing app could raise $8bn-$10bn and will sell about $500m of stock to PayPal.

Nikkei: Japan's Don Quijote exports retail 'jungles' in age of Amazon

Discounter bets on bricks-and-mortar chaos to win Asian customers.

Bloomberg: The cult Japanese retailer making billions breaking all the rules

Don Quijote is a little like a mashup of TJ Maxx, Dollar Tree, Costco, and the no-frills grocer Aldi, with a dollop of Japanese eccentricity thrown in. 

“I haven’t seen anything else quite like Don Quijote,” says Michael Causton, a retail analyst in Tokyo for Japan Consuming. “It’s chaotic, messy stores, which belie what’s behind it—a highly disciplined, extremely rigorous management philosophy.”

Retail experts have described Donki, as it’s popularly known, as a jungle, a hoarder’s paradise, even a fire hazard, with shelves so heavily packed they look as if they might fall over. But the heart of its strategy is simple: Floor staff should have near-total autonomy to decide what to sell.

The first target is Asia for Don Quijote, which sells everything from humidifiers to sex toys.

Walmart has unveiled a new “store of the future” and test grounds for emerging technologies, including AI-enabled cameras and interactive displays. The store, a working concept called the Intelligent Retail Lab — or “IRL” for short — operates out of a Walmart Neighborhood Market in Levittown, NY.

Amazon to roll out one-day shipping worldwide: FT reports, online retailer beats estimates as profits more than double in first quarter.

Starbucks plans to expand delivery service to 50 Chinese cities.


The new vacation perk: Celebrity encounters: WSJ reports, To let tourists come home with bragging rights, the travel industry and fundraisers are selling access to celebs, rockers, athletes and a whole host of boldfaced names.

Tim Harford: Always seek out novelty — even at home: The search for new experiences should not just be for our holidays. 

Enjoy the ride + plan accordingly.


Interview: US-China commercial relations


Last night I spoke with Elaine Reyes (CGTN America - China 24) on the state of US-China commercial relations, tariffs, global supply chains, Election 2018, Apple, and Starbucks.

You can watch the clip here:

North Korea, China, Tariffs, ZTE, Ireland, Starbucks, Pot

Marc Ross Daily.png

North Korea, China, Tariffs, ZTE, Ireland, Starbucks, Pot

Marc Ross Daily
May 16, 2018
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia

Marc Ross Daily  = Global Business News at the Intersection of Politics + Policy + Profits

Subscribe here


✔️ North Korea abruptly postponed talks with South Korea

✔️ US business groups bash Trump's China tariffs plan

✔️ Jacob Rees-Mogg refuses European Economic Area

✔️ Women sweep to victory in House primaries

✔️ China is Facebook's second largest market after the US


US-China trade relations: Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak with Asieh Namdar with CGTN-America. We discussed the state of US-China trade policy and the future of trade between the two countries. You can see the clip here:


North Korea abruptly postponed talks with South Korea to protest US-South Korean military exercises and threatened to scrap a summit next month between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if there is “a one-sided demand for us to give up our nukes.”

Welcome to The Bigs, Mr. Trump.

FT: Asia markets soften as Korea talks collapse

US firms seek tariff relief as US and China try to mend rift
: AP reports, corporate America is seeking relief from President Donald Trump's threatened tariffs on at least $50 billion in Chinese goods as negotiators seek to prevent a trade war between the world's two biggest economies. As the US government began three days of hearings on the tariffs Tuesday, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He traveled to Washington to seek a resolution to the trade dispute. A similar high-level US delegation made a trip to Beijing earlier this month and returned empty-handed.

NYT: Businesses race to Washington to sway Trump on China tariffs

Bloomberg: US business groups bash Trump's China tariffs plan

Just about everything is odd about Trump’s support of Chinese firm ZTE: WP reports, just about everything is odd about President Trump's recent tweet that he wants to help Chinese technology company ZTE “get back into business, fast” because its failure costs “too many jobs in China.” It's odd that Trump, who campaigned on saving millions of U.S. jobs, suddenly says he cares about a few thousand Chinese jobs. It's odd that Trump, who championed “America First,” is worried about a single Chinese firm.

FT: US and China ‘still very far apart’ on trade, says US ambassador

Is China straight-up bribing Donald Trump? Vanity Fair reports, the president suddenly softens on a Chinese business after Beijing bankrolls a Trump Organization project.

"So it was a bit odd to see Trump pull a complete 180, suddenly insisting that the company and its 75,000 Chinese jobs must be saved, though to be fair, tweeting “Look, China just pumped $500 million into a Trump Organization project so I had to do them a solid” might not have gone over so well."

NAFTA: Negotiators from Canada, Mexico, and the United States are unlikely to strike a deal for a revised North American Free Trade Agreement deal by Thursday.

Pot in Canada: On Monday, the world’s largest marijuana producer was formed when Aurora Cannabis, which is headquartered in Vancouver, bought medical-marijuana firm MedReleaf for about CA$3bn (€2bn) in stock. The acquisition is the latest in a string of maneuvers in Canada’s cannabis economy ahead of new legislation that could legalize the drug on 1 July – Canada’s national holiday. 

WSJ: Trump's goal for NAFTA rewrite looks unattainable in 2018

Spain’s top economists vow to boycott all-male panel discussions. 

Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg refuses European Economic Area: Rees-Mogg met PM Theresa May yesterday and assured her that the 60 or so Tory Brexiteers that he leads in the European Research Group will not back down over the customs partnership. He argued that abiding by EU rules without having a say in how they were made would completely undo the purpose of the Brexit vote.

Why the future of Northern Ireland is crucial to Brexit negotiations: The Times reports, as a recent poll causes grave concern among senior Tories on all sides of the argument, Sam Coates, the Times deputy political editor, breaks down ten key reasons the province has become critical to the debate.


Brigadoon Annapolis | Salon Dinner + Lectures = Sep. 20-21, 2018

Brigadoon Detroit | Salon Dinner = Oct. 11, 2018

Brigadoon Cincinnati | Salon Dinner = Nov. 1, 2018

Brigadoon Scotland 2018 = Nov. 11-13, 2018

More info @


CIA: Gina Haspel is on track to be confirmed by the US Senate.

Today: Trump will meet and hold a working lunch with Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev. 

Novartis has announced the departure of general counsel Felix Ehrat over his role in a $1.2M contract it struck with Michael Cohen.

Related: Marc Ross: CEOs need to learn lessons from the AT&T and Michael Cohen scandal

Election 2018: Democratic women had a good night, winning seven primaries for House seats in Pennsylvania and threatening the state's all-male congressional delegation.

Women sweep to victory in House primaries: Politico reports, voters decide key battleground contests in 4 states.

Top Dem presidential hopefuls audition for 2020: Politico reports, the first cattle call of 2020 drew a host of big names, The Center for American Progress’ Ideas Conference allowed possible 2020 candidates to test out messages on progressivism in the Trump era.

A reckoning for Obama's foreign-policy legacy: Veterans of the last administration are learning a hard lesson: Policies constructed by executive order and executive agreement are just as easily blown up by them.

Hurricane Genesis and Outlook Project report predicts that there will be 11 to 18 named tropical storms this year.


Starbucks is looking to double down on the Chinese market as traffic growth comes under pressure in the U.S. The coffee chain hopes to more than triple its revenue and almost double its store count in China over the next five years. It currently has around 3,300 stores in 141 cities across the country.

China is Facebook's second largest market after the US: AdAge reports, nearly 10 percent of Facebook's global revenue, or about $5 billion, comes from China, despite being banned from operating in the country, according to a new report by Pivotal research analyst Brian Wieser. This means China is the second-largest ad spender on Facebook, only behind the US.

No Facebook for you: As part of its purge of bad content from its platform, Facebook deleted 583 million fake accounts and 865.8 million posts during Q1 2018.

Facebook’s blockchain move raises eyebrows: FT reports, Zuckerberg flirts with decentralization of his very centralized social network.

Amazon is debuting a Prime loyalty program that includes an extra 10% off on sales items and weekly discounts at Whole Foods.

Kellogg has discontinued its operations in Venezuela due to the ongoing social and economic distress in the nation.

Lime, the e-scooter company, is raising $500 million.

How China's tech revolution threatens Silicon Valley: A look inside Beijing's booming start-up scene shows how ubiquitous the country's tech culture is.


Great things take time: Why focusing on the long-term is more important than ever


RIP: Tom Wolfe employed literary techniques in his magazine articles, pioneering the New Journalism of the 1960s and ’70s. He wrote books such as “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test” and “The Right Stuff”; his first novel, “The Bonfire of the Vanities,” was a bestseller.

Tom Wolfe, writer, 1930-2018: FT reports, American literary and journalistic iconoclast who Norman Mailer said was the hardest working writer of his time.

The Tom Wolfe syllabus: The pioneer of New Journalism died at the age of 88 on Monday. From ‘The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test’ to ‘Bonfire of the Vanities,’ the Ringer staff looks back on his most striking work.

Royal Wedding: UK Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins has today signed the order relaxing pub licensing laws for the royal wedding this weekend. UK subjects will be permitted to toast the happy couple in pubs across the land until 1:00 am on both Friday and Saturday night.


Today @ 2:45 pm ET: UEFA Europa League Final = Marseille vs. Atletico Madrid

Golan Heights, Syria, Mexico, AT&T, Pep Guardiola, Trade Tensions, Starbucks

Marc Ross Daily.png

Golan Heights, Syria, Mexico, AT&T, Pep Guardiola, Trade Tensions, Starbucks

Marc Ross Daily
May 11, 2018
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia

Marc Ross Daily  = Global Business News at the Intersection of Politics + Policy + Profits

Subscribe here


✔️ Iran fires rockets into Golan Heights from Syria

✔️ Business hates Mexico’s presidential front-runner

✔️ Italian populist parties on verge of deal to govern

✔️ AT&T paid Trump lawyer for ‘insights’ into his boss

✔️ Guardiola eyes 100 points for record-breaking City


NYT: Iran fires rockets into Golan Heights from Syria, Israelis say

Israel strikes Iranian targets in Syria as regional tensions rise
: WSJ reports, Israel’s military carried out strikes against Iranian targets in Syria after it said Iranian forces based there fired rockets at its soldiers in the Golan Heights, raising the risk of a wider regional war.

FT: Israeli aircraft pound Iranian military sites inside Syria

Mahathir seals victory in stunning Malaysia poll win
: FT reports, veteran former PM’s comeback ends ruling coalition’s 60-year grip on power.

Italian populist parties on verge of deal to govern: FT reports, Five Star and League in talks after Berlusconi says he will not stand in the way.

Bloomberg: Business hates Mexico’s presidential front-runner. And he doesn’t care

"Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the nation’s anti-Trump, has a 20-point lead in the polls."

China's specter looms over Modi's Nepal visit: Nikkei reports, Indian PM faces diplomatic hurdles but could win votes back home.

China draws up shopping list of US goods to avoid trade war: WSJ reports, China likely will offer to import more U.S. goods during negotiations in Washington next week as the two sides see one of the best ways to avert an all-out trade war is for Beijing to buy American.

US-China trade tensions increase after import delays: FT reports, Chinese inspectors are delaying imports of US agricultural products, luxury automobiles and even pet food, exacerbating tensions just days before bilateral trade talks are scheduled to resume. Industry executives said Chinese officials had not cited bilateral trade friction for any of the delays, which have been caused by more stringent environmental checks and quarantine procedures. Products affected by the new inspections include Lincoln automobiles — exported from the US by carmaker Ford — pork, apples, logs and pet food.

Telegraph: US exports to China hit record $128 billion

"Forty-nine US states have expanded their goods exports to China over the past decade, with 17 states experiencing triple-digit growth."

How China’s ‘Big Fund’ is helping the country catch up in the global semiconductor race: SCMP reports, low-profile fund is leading national effort to catch up in global semiconductor industry by raising funds and backing semiconductor start-ups and research and development.


FT: AT&T paid Trump lawyer for ‘insights’ into his boss

"I’m crushing it": How Michael Cohen, touting his access to President Trump, convinced companies to pay millions
: WP reports, he pitched potential clients on his close association with the president, noting he still was President Trump’s lawyer, according to associates. He showed photos of himself with Trump and mentioned how frequently they spoke, even asking people to share news articles describing him as Trump's “fixer.”

NYT - Editorial: Trump’s shadowy money trail: Questions about his finances, and about whether his campaign helped Russia hack the 2016 election, need to be asked in the same breath.

Cohen got millions for insider access outside White House: NYT reports, through a secretive shell company, Michael Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, was paid by major corporations and a law firm for help navigating Washington in the Trump era.

California is set to become the first state to require solar panels on all newly built single-family houses," effective in 2020.

Bloomberg: ‘Wild West’ Ohio beckons self-driving cars even after Uber death

Scientists: Hawaii volcano could soon spew 10-ton boulders from its summit: WP reports, when the lava level at the top of Kilauea drops to groundwater level, it could trigger powerful explosions that could send debris for miles and unleash torrents of molten rock and toxic gases.


Bloomberg picks Amsterdam for its post-Brexit base.

ZTE says it halted major operations following US sales ban: WSJ reports, Chinese telecom firm ZTE said it halted major business operations, marking the deepest wound inflicted yet in the escalating trade rift between China and the US.

Chinese tech giant may be first victim of new US cold war: NYT reports, the electronics firm ZTE has found success in the American market like few other Chinese technology brands have. Now it is fighting for its life after the Trump administration banned the company from using parts made in America.

China’s ZTE halts operations as US ban bites: FT reports, telecoms group hopes for political solution to crippling sanctions barring US suppliers

AP: Chinese court sentences Anbang founder to 18 years for fraud

Wu Xiaohui, the former chairman of Anbang Insurance Group, had gained a reputation for ambitiously expanding into hotels, real estate and insurance from Canada to South Korea - including New York City’s Waldorf Hotel.

Starbucks: Could it get even more aggressive in China?Barron's reports, Starbucks, which has said it’s aiming for 5,000 shops in China by 2021, could bump that number even higher. "Coffee consumption in China is still a fraction of that of the U.S., but we estimate coffee consumption has grown double-digits over the last 10 years,” UBS analysis, with Starbucks a main beneficiary: The company was responsible for nearly 50% of specialist coffee shop transactions there in 2017, according to UBS data, up from below 35% in 2012.

Uber reveals plans for flying taxi-service by 2023: FT reports, ride-hailing company partners with Nasa to design urban air-traffic control system.

Toyota pours $22bn into R&D as Apple and Google close in: Nikkei reports, CEO calls it a 'fight for survival' as technology reshapes the auto industry.


‘We don’t take cash’: is this the future of money? Tougher for criminals, easier for hackers: what life is really like in a cashless society.


NYT: Mormon Church ends century-old partnership with Boy Scouts of America

LAT: 'Law & Order: SVU' inches closer to the record books with Season 20 renewal


AFP: Guardiola eyes 100 points for record-breaking City

AFP: Celtics beat Sixers to book
spot in East finals

Israel, 5G, Telecom, Macron, Berlin, TPP, Starbucks, Porsche, Golden Knights

Marc Ross Daily_Forward (1).png

Israel, 5G, Telecom, Macron, Berlin, TPP, Starbucks, Porsche, Golden Knights

Marc Ross Daily
April 18, 2018
Curation and commentary from Marc A. Ross

Reporting from Alexandria, Virginia

Marc Ross Daily  = Global Business News at the Intersection of Politics + Policy + Profits

Subscribe here


✔️ Israel at 70

✔️ The 5G race: China and South Korea are winning

✔️ U.S. moves to block sales by Chinese telecom equipment makers

✔️ WWII bomb to force mass evacuation in central Berlin Friday

✔️ Barbara Bush remembered as a tough, classy 'force of nature'


The 5G race: China and South Korea are winning

The 5G race is being won by China and South Korea, according to a report conducted by research firm Analysys Mason and released today by CTIA, America's premier wireless industry association.

According to the research, China is in the lead, followed by South Korea, the U.S. and Japan. Germany, the U.K., and France are in the second tier of countries in terms of readiness.

America lags in “5G readiness” due to reliance on private providers -- Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint -- to build antenna infrastructure. China’s wireless providers, on the other hand, are streamlined by government mandate. 

Why this matters - 5G systems support 1k more devices per meter than 4G, using higher frequencies and secondary antennae to relay signals. It also eliminates the transmission inconsistencies and slowdowns caused by buildings, mountains, and crowds.

The global competition is propelling 5G development much faster than was originally expected, with carriers and some cities moving quickly to install infrastructure, said CTIA president and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker, a former FCC commissioner.

The Trump administration see this situation as a threat, especially from China.

Last month the administration blocked Broadcom's proposed buyout of Qualcomm on national security grounds. The administration also fears that Broadcom's business practices would weaken Qualcomm's and the U.S.'s 5G position — allowing Huawei a bigger advantage.

Key findings by Analysys Mason include:

- All major Chinese providers have committed to specific launch dates and the government has committed to at least 100 MHz of mid-band spectrum and 2,000 MHz of high-band spectrum for each wireless provider.

- Countries around the world are moving quickly to make spectrum available for 5G. This year alone, the U.K., Spain, and Italy are all holding 5G spectrum auctions.

- At the end of 2018, the U.S. will rank sixth out of the 10 countries in mid-band (3–24GHz) spectrum availability, a critical band for 5G. The U.S. joins Russia and Canada as the only countries currently without announced plans to allocate mid-band spectrum on an exclusive basis to mobile by the end of 2020.

- Countries like the U.K. and regions like the European Union are taking significant steps to modernize infrastructure rules to facilitate the deployment of 5G networks.

Read can read the report here:


AP: Israel at 70: Satisfaction and grim disquiet share the stage

"It has a standard of living that rivals Western Europe, without the natural resources. It can boast of scientific achievements and military and technological clout beyond its modest size. It controls most of biblical Israel, and despite widespread criticism of its policies toward the Palestinians, it has cultivated good diplomatic ties with most of the world."

China seeks trade firewall with U.S. allies in rush of ambassador meetings - sources: Reuters reports, China’s international trade representative held a series of meetings with the ambassadors from major European nations last week to ask them to stand together with Beijing against U.S. protectionism, according to four sources familiar with the discussions. Some of the western diplomats involved in the meetings with Fu Ziying, who is also a vice-commerce minister, have viewed the approaches as a sign of how anxious Beijing is getting about the expanding conflict with Washington, the sources said.

China overtakes U.S. as top export market in one more nation: Bloomberg reports, China has displaced the U.S. over the past decade as the top export market for many Asian economies, including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines. India is one of the few countries in the region that still counts America as a bigger market for goods than China.

Bloomberg: China takes carrot-and-stick approach to U.S. trade tensions

“We’ve seen comments from China about their plans to liberalize, but until we see the regulations and laws that will actually implement these plans, it’s hard to say what the benefit will be,” said Erin Ennis, senior vice president at the US-China Business Council, in Washington.

Guardian: China defiant after new US security regulations target telecoms firms

U.S. moves to block sales by Chinese telecom equipment makers: NYT reports, the United States undercut China’s technology ambitions on Tuesday, advancing a new rule that would limit the ability of Chinese telecommunications companies to sell their products in this country. The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to move forward with a plan that would prevent federally subsidized telecommunications carriers from using suppliers deemed to pose a risk to American national security. The decision takes direct aim at Huawei, which makes telecommunications network equipment and smartphones, and its main Chinese rival, ZTE, sending a message that the government doesn’t trust them.

Decades after Mao Zedong denounced horse racing as immoral, China is to allow an experiment that some hope will lead to wider adoption of the sport. 

FT: China cuts required reserve ratio in ‘subtle easing’ move

China’s $1 billion white elephant: Bloomberg reports, each year roughly 60,000 ships vital to the global economy sail through the Indian Ocean past a Chinese-operated port on the southern tip of Sri Lanka. Almost none of them stop to unload cargo. The eight-year-old Hambantota port -- with almost no container traffic and trampled fences that elephants traverse with ease -- has become a prime example of what can go wrong for countries involved in President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road” trade and infrastructure initiative. Sri Lanka borrowed heavily to build the port, couldn’t repay the loans, and then gave China a 99-year lease for debt relief.

China’s shock call for ban on lethal autonomous weapon systems: IHS Jane’s 360 reports, China has called on nations “to negotiate and conclude a succinct protocol to ban the use of fully autonomous weapon systems”, in so doing becoming the first Permanent Member of the UN Security Council to call for a ban on ‘lethal autonomous weapon systems’ (LAWS). 

Pakistan shuns US for Chinese high-tech weapons: FT reports, Pakistan is focusing instead on the rollout of the next batch of the JF-17, the fighter jet it is developing with China, and which is catching up with the F-16 in terms of capabilities.

India desperate to replenish ATMs before cash crunch spreads: Nikkei reports, currency shortage comes amid clean-up at banks plagued by fraud, bad debt

Theresa May faces a new Brexit challenge from the House of Lords: Bloomberg reports, UK PM Theresa May’s Brexit strategy faces a renewed threat on Wednesday when her flagship bill returns to Parliament’s upper chamber, where Lords of all political stripes are seeking to amend it. A proposal to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU after leaving the bloc may pass by more than 50 votes, according to Dianne Hayter, a Labour peer who sponsored the amendment with independent member John Kerr, former Conservative Party Chairman Chris Patten, and Liberal Democrat Sarah Ludford.

State Dinner: President Emmanuel Macron of France and Mrs. Macron will be welcomed to the White House on Tuesday, April 24 for a State Dinner.

AFP: WWII bomb to force mass evacuation in central Berlin Friday

"The discovery of an unexploded World War II bomb will force a mass evacuation around Berlin's central railway station, covering several government ministries and a hospital"

Italy’s president hopes neutral politician can break stalemate: WSJ reports, Italy’s President Sergio Mattarella asked a parliamentary leader to mediate among party chiefs in an attempt to form a government, hoping a neutral figure can end the political paralysis that has persisted since March’s elections.

Trump reflects America at the moment, which has hardly anything to do with traditional values: Neil Macdonald of CBC opines, what would be the reaction if, say, a foreign leader flatly stated that Trump personifies all that is best in America? My guess is that a lot of Republicans would take that as an insult. Or at least be taken aback. Because everyone knows Trump personifies few of the values Americans are brought up to believe their country stands for.

AFP: Quebec wary of bitcoin gold rush

"a sea of 7,000-odd computers hidden away in this industrial park at a center operated by Bitfarms, one of the emerging players of the cryptocurrency "mining" boom."

Mexico leftist opens up 22 point lead in presidency race: poll: Reuters reports, Mexican leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has extended his lead in the race to win the July 1 election, opening up a gap of 22 percentage points in effective terms, a poll by newspaper Reforma showed on Wednesday.

New leader in Cuba: What's in store after the Castros?

"Analysts say little will change as Miguel Diaz-Canel is expected to take over the presidency in Cuba." 


NYT: Trump, in another apparent reversal, says trans-pacific trade pact has ‘too many contingencies’ 

FT: Trump hails meeting between CIA chief and Kim Jong Un

Trump will welcome the leader of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, on April 30.

Yahoo: Power to the party: Why political reforms can be bad for democracy

"Populism is popular these days, and many Americans want to make the political system more fair. ... But ... anti-party reforms have gone too far and are now having a multitude of negative impacts."

"Anti-establishment thinking has been one of the most constant and dominant trends of the last half-century. ... Yet ... institutions can protect us from the abuse of power."

Sean Hannity’s rising role in Trump’s world: ‘He basically has a desk in the place’: WP reports,the conservative commentator is so close to Trump that some White House aides have dubbed him the unofficial chief of staff. For a president who feels that he is under siege, Hannity offers what he prizes most: loyalty and a mass audience.

Whiskey sour? China importers fret over U.S. trade battle: Reuters reports, when spirits dealer Daniel Taytslin brought his first pallet of American Ragtime Rye whiskey into Shanghai in early April, the 672 bottles faced a 5 percent import tariff at China's customs.


Amazon is suspending plans to sell and distribute prescription drugs and instead will continue to focus on "less sensitive" medical supplies.

WSJ: Retail rivals Amazon and Best Buy team up to sell smart TVs

Amazon has launched an international shopping feature that will allow customers across the world to shop more than 45M items that can be shipped to their country from the U.S.

Coffee brands fight California ruling on cancer warnings: WSJ reports,  Los Angeles judge's recent ruling in a lawsuit over cancer labels has galvanized coffee brands and retailers, including Starbucks Corp., to push harder to avoid carrying the labels.

WP: Starbucks arrests: Who decides whether you’re a patron or a trespasser?

@kairyssdal: Starbucks Coffee Company today announced it will be closing its more than 8,000 company-owned stores in the United States on the afternoon of May 29 to conduct racial-bias education

Alibaba is developing its own driverless cars: TR reports, the Chinese tech giant comes to the self-driving game later than rivals Baidu and Tencent but says it will build an entire ecosystem around autonomous cars. The effort is led by Gang Wang, a scientist at the company’s AI lab and one of MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35 in 2017.

Meet the CEO who could become China's wealthiest man after Xiaomi IPO: SCMP reports, stock exchange officials from New York to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore, are trying to pitch their bourses for what would probably be the largest global initial public offering in four years.

Moncler transformed ski parkas with $1,000 price tags. What’s next? Bloomberg reports, the company made expensive puffy jackets a status symbol. Now it has plenty of competition and must find new ways to grow.


Why China will win the global race for complete AI dominance: Wired reports, Kai-Fu Lee – a former Apple, Microsoft and Google executive turned investor – is placing big bets on machine learning. And China is leading the way.

Norway, China spearhead the e-mobility drive


Barbara Bush dies at age 92: WSJ reports, Barbara Pierce Bush went from a privileged childhood to become the wife of one president and mother of another, serving throughout as a pugnacious guardian of what had become America’s most prominent political family. 

LAT: Barbara Bush remembered as a tough, classy 'force of nature'

Matriarch of a presidential family dies at 92: WP reports, Bush embraced her image as America’s warmhearted grandmother, which belied her influence and mettle during a half-century in the public eye. Within the Bush clan, she was known as “the enforcer.”

LAT: Porsche's L.A. Experience Center is a theme park for grown-ups who love to drive

The 11 keys to keeping the band together: On the occasion of their 12th album and 27th year together, Sloan shares their wisdom on how to make musical matrimony last.


Las Vegas Golden Knights: The team became the first expansion team in NHL history to sweep their first playoff series.